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Seat Belts

Introduction:

  • U.S.-registered civil aircraft, operating under part 91, are required to abide by a set of seat belt, shoulder harness, and child restraints

Briefing and Notification:

  • Seatbelt Briefing:

    • No pilot may take off a U.S.-registered civil aircraft unless the pilot in command of that aircraft ensures that each person on board is briefed on how to fasten and unfasten that person's safety belt and, if installed, shoulder harness
    • The act of briefing may be conducted by anyone, so long as the PIC verifies that it has occurred
    • This is a one time requirement
  • Seatbelt Notification:

    • The pilot-in-command must then ensure each person on board has been notified to fasten his or her safety belt and, if in stalled, his or her shoulder harness, prior to surface movement, take off, or landing a U.S.-registered civil aircraft
    • Note that notification is required during three separate occasions
    • You may recognize this requirement being met on airliners between announcements when you board, videos/recordings after boarding, and final announcements before landing
  • No briefing or notification is required for free balloons that incorporates a basket or gondola, or an airship type certificated before November 2, 1987
  • Passenger Use:

    • Except as provided in this paragraph, each person on board a U.S.-registered civil aircraft(except a free balloon that incorporates a basket or gondola or an airship type certificated before November 2, 1987) must occupy an approved seat or berth with a safety belt and, if installed, shoulder harness, properly secured about him or her during movement on the surface, takeoff, and landing. For seaplane and float equipped rotorcraft operations during movement on the surface, the person pushing off the seaplane or rotorcraft from the dock and the person mooring the seaplane or rotorcraft at the dock are excepted from the preceding seating and safety belt requirements
    • Notwithstanding the preceding requirements of this paragraph, a person may:
      • Be held by an adult who is occupying an approved seat or berth, provided that the person being held has not reached his or her second birthday and does not occupy or use any restraining device;
      • Use the floor of the aircraft as a seat, provided that the person is on board for the purpose of engaging in sport parachuting; or
      • Notwithstanding any other requirement of this chapter, occupy an approved child restraint system furnished by the operator or one of the persons described in FAR 91.107 paragraph(a)(3)(iii)(A) of this section provided that:
        • The child is accompanied by a parent, guardian, or attendant designated by the child's parent or guardian to attend to the safety of the child during the flight;
        • Except as provided in FAR 91.107 paragraph(a)(3)(iii)(B)(4) of this action, the approved child restraint system bears one or more labels as follows:
          • Seats manufactured to U.S. standards between January 1, 1981, and February 25, 1985, must bear the label: "This child restraint system conforms to all applicable Federal motor vehicle safety standards.";
          • Seats manufactured to U.S. standards on or after February 26, 1985, must bear two labels:
            • "This child restraint system conforms to all applicable Federal motor vehicle safety standards"; and
            • "THIS RESTRAINT IS CERTIFIED FOR USE IN MOTOR VEHICLES AND AIRCRAFT" in red lettering;
          • Seats that do not qualify under FAR 91.107 paragraphs(a)(3)(iii)(B)(1) and(a)(3)(iii)(B)(2) of this section must bear a label or markings showing:
            • That the seat was approved by a foreign government;
            • That the seat was manufactured under the standards of the United Nations;
            • That the seat or child restraint device furnished by the operator was approved by the FAA through Type Certificate or Supplemental Type Certificate; or
            • That the seat or child restraint device furnished by the operator, or one of the persons described in FAR 91.107 paragraph (a)(3)(iii)(A) of this section, was approved by the FAA in accordance with FAR 21.8(d) of this chapter or Technical Standard Order C-100b or a later version. The child restraint device manufactured by AmSafe, Inc. (CARES, Part No. 4082) and approved by the FAA in accordance with FAR 21.305(d) (2010 ed.) of this chapter may continue to bear a label or markings showing FAA approval in accordance with FAR 21.305(d) (2010 ed.) of this chapter
          • Except as provided in Sec. 91.107(a)(3)(iii)(B)(3)(iii) and Sec. 91.107(a)(3)(iii)(B)(3)(iv), booster-type child restraint systems(as defined in Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 213(49 CFR 571.213)), vest- and harness-type child restraint systems, and lap held child restraints are not approved for use in aircraft; and
        • The operator complies with the following requirements:
          • The restraint system must be properly secured to an approved forward-facing seat or berth;
          • The child must be properly secured in the restraint system and must not exceed the specified weight limit for the restraint system; and
          • The restraint system must bear the appropriate label(s)

    Crew Members:

    • Seatbelts:

      • During takeoff and landing, and while en route, each required flight crewmember shall:
        • Be at the crewmember station unless the absence is necessary to perform duties in connection with the operation of the aircraft or in connection with physiological needs; and
        • Keep the safety belt fastened while at the crewmember station
    • Shoulder Harnesses:

      • Each required flight crewmember of a U.S.-registered civil aircraft shall, during takeoff and landing, keep his or her shoulder harness fastened while at his or her assigned duty station
      • Exceptions:

        • The seat at the crewmember's station is not equipped with a shoulder harness; or
        • The crewmember would be unable to perform required duties with the shoulder harness fastened

    Conclusion:

    • There is a difference between passenger requirements and crewmember requirements that was illustrated above
      • Note that while passengers are required to utilize a shoulder harness at all times, crew members are only required to do so during takeoff and landing unless two exceptions (aircraft not equipped, unable to perform required duties) are met
    • These requirements for seat belts, harnesses and child restraints apply to general aviation operations
      • The rules above do not apply to operations conducted under part 121, 125, or 135 of this chapter
    • Paragraph (a)(3) of this section does not apply to persons subject to ยง91.105

    References: